Or, if not created, the word “racism” was at least popularized by communists in the 1930s. Russian Jewish communist leader Leon Trotsky used it in his treatise on national socialism:
In order to raise it above history, the nation is given the support of the race. History is viewed as the emanation of the race. The qualities of the race are construed without relation to changing social conditions. Rejecting “economic thought” as base, National Socialism descends a stage lower: from economic materialism it appeals to zoologic materialism.
The theory of race, specially created, it seems, for some pretentious self-educated individual seeking a universal key to all the secrets of life, appears particularly melancholy in the light of the history of ideas. In order to create the religion of pure German blood, Hitler was obliged to borrow at second hand the ideas of racism from a Frenchman, Count Gobineau , a diplomat and a literary dilettante. Hitler found the political methodology ready-made in Italy, where Mussolini had borrowed largely from the Marxist theory of the class struggle. Marxism itself is the fruit of union among German philosophy, French history, and British economics. To investigate retrospectively the genealogy of ideas, even those most reactionary and muddleheaded, is to leave not a trace of racism standing.
The immense poverty of National Socialist philosophy did not, of course, hinder the academic sciences from entering Hitler’s wake with all sails unfurled, once his victory was sufficiently plain. For the majority of the professorial rabble, the years of the Weimar regime were periods of riot and alarm. Historians, economists, jurists, and philosophers were lost in guesswork as to which of the contending criteria of truth was right that is, which of the camps would turn out in the end the master of the situation. The fascist dictatorship eliminates the doubts of the Fausts and the vacillations of the Hamlets of the university rostrums. Coming out of the twilight of parliamentary relativity, knowledge once again enters into the kingdom of absolutes. Einstein has been obliged to pitch his tent outside the boundaries of Germany.
On the plane of politics, racism is a vapid and bombastic variety of chauvinism in alliance with phrenology. As the ruined nobility sought solace in the gentility of its blood, so the pauperized petty bourgeoisie befuddles itself with fairy tales concerning the special superiorities of its race. Worthy of attention is the fact that the leaders of National Socialism are not native Germans but interlopers from Austria, like Hitler himself, from the former Baltic provinces of the Czar’s empire, like Rosenberg; and from colonial countries, like Hess, who is Hitler’s present alternate for the party leadership.  A barbarous din of nationalisms on the frontiers of civilization was required in order to instill into its “leaders” those ideas which later found response in the hearts of the most barbarous classes in Germany.
Personality and class – liberalism and Marxism – are evil. The nation – is good. But at the threshold of private property this philosophy is turned inside out. Salvation lies only in personal private property. The idea of national property is the spawn of Bolshevism. Deifying the nation, the petty bourgeois does not want to give it anything. On the contrary, he expects the nation to endow him with property and to safeguard him from the worker and the process-server. Unfortunately, the Third Reich will bestow nothing upon the petty bourgeois except new taxes.
- Leon Trotsky, 1933
Clearly, the proletarian internationalist Trotsky was trying to demonize all nationalism, especially in Europe, by equating it to German national socialism (and fascism). That’s what the label “racist” is for, has always been, and always will. To corroborate this I quote Samuel Francis, who reviews the book titled “Racism” by another communist from the 1930s, German Jewish Magnus Hirschfeld:
As a serious critique of the view that socially significant natural differences between the races exist, Hirschfeld’s book is a failure, and even as a polemic against some of the more politicized and unverified claims about race made a century or more ago, it is weak. The importance of the book is not so much its content, however, as what it tells us about the word “racism” and how the enemies of white racial consciousness have developed and deployed it for their own purposes.
Hirschfeld describes his own political ideals as “Pan-Humanism,” a version of political, cultural, and racial universalism. The Pauls themselves write, “we think that the readers of Racism will detect a very definite orientation to the Left. . . . [Hirschfeld] was one who fully realized that sexual reform is impossible without a preliminary economic and political revolution.”
In Racism, Hirschfeld offers what is essentially a definition of “Pan-Humanism:” “The individual, however close the ties of neighborhood, companionship, family, a common lot, language, education, and the environment of nation and country, can find only one dependable unity within which to seek a permanent spiritual kinship–that of humanity-at-large, that of the whole human race.” With one exception, he is unsparing in his denunciations of the ethnocentric loyalties of nations, races, and cultures: “Always and everywhere, except in Soviet Russia, xenophobia, xenophobia, xenophobia.” Later, he informs us, “It may be too early to speak, but perhaps the problem of nationalities and races has already been solved on one-sixth of the land-surface of the globe [i.e., Stalin’s Russia].”
“Racism,” therefore, is a term originating on the left, and has been so defined and loaded with meanings the left wants it to have that it cannot now be used by the supporters of white racial consciousness for any constructive purpose. Anyone who uses the term to describe himself or his own views has already allowed himself to be maneuvered onto his opponents’ ground and has already lost the debate. He may try to define the word differently, but he will need to spend most of his time explaining that he does not mean by it what everyone else means. As a term useful for communicating ideas that the serious supporters of white racial consciousness wish to communicate, the term is useless, and it was intended by those who developed it that it be useless for that purpose.
But understanding the origins of the word “racism” in Hirschfeld’s polemic also makes clear the uselessness of the word for any other purpose. No one seems ever to have used the word to describe his own ideas or ideas with which he agrees; its only application has been by the enemies of the ideas it purports to describe, and hence it has no objective meaning apart from its polemical usage. If no one calls his own ideas “racism” and its only application is to a body of ideas considered to be untrue and evil, then it has no use other than as a kind of fancy curse word, the purpose of which is simply to demonize anyone who expresses the ideas it is supposed to describe.
- Samuel Francis, 1999
What is labeled as “racism” is in reality, in most cases and for all intents and purposes, in-group favoritism, which is completely natural for all races. It’s a survival strategy based on biology:
In a meta-analysis and review of the effect of oxytocin on social behavior done by Carsten De Dreu, the research reviewed shows that oxytocin enables the development of trust, specifically towards individuals with similar characteristics – categorised as ‘in-group’ members – promoting cooperation with and favoritism towards such individuals. This bias of oxytocin-induced goodwill towards those with features and characteristics perceived to be similar may have evolved as a biological basis for sustaining in-group cooperation and protection, fitting with the Darwinian insight that acts of self-sacrifice and cooperation contribute to the functioning of the group and hence improve the odd of survival for members of said group.
Race can be used as an example of in-group and out-group tendencies because society often categorizes individuals into groups based on race (Caucasian, African American, Latino, etc.). One study that examined race and empathy found that participants receiving nasally administered oxytocin had stronger reactions to pictures of in-group members making pained faces than to pictures of out-group members with the same expression. This shows that oxytocin may be implicated in our ability to empathize with individuals of different races, with individuals of one race potentially biased towards helping individuals of the same race than individuals of another race when they are experiencing pain.
Oxytocin has also been implicated in lying when lying would prove beneficial to other in-group members. In a study where such a relationship was examined, it was found that when individuals were administered oxytocin, rates of dishonesty in the participants’ responses increased for their in-group members when a beneficial outcome for their group was expected. Both of these examples show the tendency to act in ways that benefit people with which one feels is part of their social group, or in-group.